4th RTR war diaries 1940

Discussion in 'RAC & RTR' started by Phil Eldridge, Sep 14, 2021.

  1. Phil Eldridge

    Phil Eldridge New Member

    My grandfather served in the 4th RTR in France in 1940. He was a Trooper James Henry Thompson 7899377

    He was a Matilda tank driver. He was injured in France and eventually left the Army in late 1940. That is all we know and would like to find out much. much more.

    Can anyone help me find the 4th RTR war diaries, photos etc?

    Many Thanks,
  2. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    I started a conversation with you regarding the war diaries. Check your inbox.
  3. LondonNik

    LondonNik Senior Member

    Hi Phil,

    Thanks for posting and welcome to the forum. I can't find your Grandfather in the list of 4RTR men who left the UK in September 1939 so he probably shipped over to France sometime between those months (not very helpful I know) but I've found him on my database for 4th Battalion but all I have is that he was reported wounded 27th May 1940 - there were a lot of casualties reported for those dates as it was a very busy day for 4RTR and 7RTR with some crews still fighting tanks and the rest of the two battalions evacuating under orders from Dunkirk.

    Any other snippets of information or photos that you can share would be helpful in finding him a 'place' in the battalion. When you say he left the Army in late 1940 was he discharged due to wounds? He may appear on a transfer list I have but haven't yet fully transcribed.

    There were 2 'Matilda' tanks at the time. It can't have been the four-man A12 Infantry Tank Mk II (later known as the Queen of the Desert) as 4RTR didn't have them in France in 1940, but he could have been a driver for a two-man Infantry Tank Mk I (confusingly also known as a Matilda in some circles, but definitely a different tank). I don't have any anecdotal evidence for him being amongst the few crews for which I have details but that doesn't mean he wasn't a driver.

    The set-up for an Infantry Tank Battalion at the time was for the tank crews to be doubled up - two sets of crew for each tank, and there would be a main crew and a spare or replacement crew. It is near impossible to determine which crew were manning their tank at any particular time on any particular day unless there is anecdotal, war diary or war grave evidence. All Troopers were trained in gunnery and tank driving and maintenance but most served in other roles within the battalion. A Trooper would never command the Infantry Tank Mk I - that was the for Officers and NCOs only.

    If you can get his service records (there is information how to do that somewhere on this forum) that may help you piece his Army career together, tell you when he joined up, where he served and when he shipped over to France.

    Good luck with your search, Nick
  4. Phil Eldridge

    Phil Eldridge New Member

    Many thanks for your message Nick.

    My grandad was a man of few words and even fewer words about the war. We think that he was injured by a mine as he had a foot injury that resulted in his medical discharge.

    Any help and information you can provide is very, very gratefully received.

    His army records are;

    upload_2021-9-23_12-40-32.jpeg upload_2021-9-23_12-40-32.jpeg upload_2021-9-23_12-40-32.jpeg
  5. LondonNik

    LondonNik Senior Member

    Dear Phil - thanks for posting those. Very interesting, and goes to show that my database is working right (for him, anyway!) Good to see he shipped over in February 1940 even though it was to be with 15/19 Hussars. I wonder why he wasn't with them for long?

    From his record he joined 4RTR in April so was a recent addition to the battalion. I don't know why he was posted to 55th Training Regiment immediately on his return to the UK, perhaps someone more versed in Army policy with regard to wounded men will know.

    I've dropped a more detailed view of 4RTRs time from April to 27th May in your inbox.

    Best regards, Nick

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